Courageous Patience

In the summer of 2013, I discovered a newfound passion for writing and speaking that had previously laid dormant. As people began following along, my excitement grew. Passion birthed relentless productivity and I dreamed of building an online business so I could quit my job. I hustled like crazy to make it happen.

But hindsight affords us the clarity we lack in the moment. The truth is, my passion and productivity had consumed me. As a result, I became a poor steward of what I had been given.

Entitlement is sneaky. If you’re not careful, you begin to demand your dream on your terms. And you think you deserve it because of your effort. Quietly, you’ll harbor frustration toward anyone who seems to oppose that effort. In the end, those emotions will leave you exhausted, frustrated and angry.

Fortunately, God began a work in me. A slow and deep process of removing the strongholds that kept me from seeing clearly and living faithfully. It began with a cancer diagnosis that taught me to trust Him absolutely. It continued with a conviction to live present in each moment instead of longing for a destination. And it culminated in the understanding of the importance of humility—a genuine willingness to be taught.

This four year process has led me to this place—a place I call, “The And”. “The And” is the place where we live fully and freely in who God has called us to be. We are faithful to what we’ve been given and we have a vision for where we’re going. We are humbled by God and confidently empowered by His presence.

Living in “The And” is a lot like riding a bike. If you go too fast and get ahead of God, you’ll lose control. But if you stop altogether and fall behind His provision, you’ll lose momentum and fall over. It’s in this quiet yet active place, where we best mature. This is where we bear fruit and learn some of life’s greatest lessons.

One of the sweetest, but hardest lessons I’ve learned is the lesson of courageous patience.

The Truth About Courage

To many, courage is equated with taking risks. It takes courage to write a book or stand in front of an audience to speak. But in time, I’ve come to understand the profound truth that courage is patient.

It takes courage to wait—to trust God so exclusively that your circumstances lose their power. Instead of being driven by what you see, it takes courage to be driven by what you know to be true. Sure, it takes courage to quit your job and chase your dreams. But it also takes a heck of a lot of courage to continue.

In the same way, it takes courage to be faithful to someone who has treated you unfairly, or go the extra mile with someone who has taken advantage of you. These don’t always “feel” right, but they require faith that God will live up to His end of the bargain.

Everyone thinks that David was courageous for charging Goliath. But if you know the story, David had been preparing for that moment for most of his life. As a shepherd, David had protected his sheep against attacks from lions, wolves, and bears. Now, as a shepherd, he was protecting God’s army from the attack of a giant. David’s faithfulness and patience prepared him for his moment of courage.

The point is, you’ll only have the courage to fight your giant if you’ve been patient with the process of preparation.

The Truth About Patience

By that same token, patience is viewed as a hellish waiting room. Like we’re sitting on a couch waiting on God to answer. But patience takes courage. It’s continuing to put one foot in front of the other while the rest of the world tells us to quit.

The world gives up too easily. In a got-to-have-it-now culture, we’ve inadvertently developed an unwillingness to wait. It’s not that we can’t, it’s that we’ve forgotten how. As a result, waiting has somehow become lazy.

The sin of the Prodigal Son wasn’t his wild living and reckless lifestyle. His sin was his impatience. He wasn’t willing to wait for his inheritance. Instead, he demanded it before it was due. He made demands of his father instead of just being satisfied to be his son. In the end, the prodigal was broke and broken.

And that’s what impatience does—it robs us. It steals our peace and replaces it with busyness—as if more work, or more effort, or more resources are what we need. When we’ve finally exhausted ourselves, we come to our senses and realize that the only thing we really need is the patience to trust our Father for what He wanted to give us in the first place.

Courageous Patience

The two things God asks from us are a humble heart and the courageous patience to follow where He leads. Everything else is us getting in the way. If you find yourself in a season of frustration or exhaustion, take a moment to consider why.

When you learn to slow down, life comes in to focus. But at the same time, you have to be moving to take advantage of the winds of favor along the way. That’s living in “The And”.

Over the past four years, I’ve gotten in the way a lot. But God has been gentle and patient with me through the process. He will do the same for you. Learn to be patient and courageous, humble and confident, at rest and active. God will take it from there.

MH

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  • Stan Stinson

    I needed this one Matt. I think it is one of your best. Thanks for sharing and I plan to share it too.

    • Thanks, Stan. Over the past three years, God has matured me in many ways, especially as a writer. Glad for your encouragement. Appreciate you, brother!

  • Deb Johnson

    Thanks, Matt. God’s timing is always perfect – He knew how much I needed this message today. We are doing our best to start a new season off on the right foot…patiently letting God refine us, leaving some past baggage and hurts at His feet, and learning to surrender to His plan daily and trust it. We have also found what makes God laugh…tell Him YOUR plans!

    • He laughs joyfully like a father laughs at his children. Then he wraps you up with a big hug and sends you out into the world.

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